Well, with a name like that I’m not expecting a whole lot.
But, I’ll try my best to be fair.
Are we all ready? Good, let’s start.
So far, a whole bunch of logos proceed our opening credits.
The music isn’t bad, it’s kind of like Jerry Goldsmith’s for Total
Recall. It’s by Michael
Hoenig, who was briefly a member of Tangerine Dream and scored the remake of The
I do have to say, the opening credits with the music and what is apparently a big blob of blood are pretty good.
And we open with a somewhat overstylized bit where Udo Kier is being really frantic in a low red light. Seems to be a video diary or something. In the background, an impassive female voice (the ship’s computer no doubt) says that self-destruct has been activated, then she starts counting down from “Ten…” Udo grabs a cross and says he has to be strong, but JUST when the voice reaches one, the lights go normal and she says the self-destruct sequence was terminated. Udo looks extremely unhappy about this. Then he screams and the title (”Dracula 3000 Infinite Darkness”) finally appears.
And we cut to a starry sky, and a space ship zooms past with a rapid title that tells us this is the “Mother III,” a salvage ship, and it’s fifty years later (the back cover of the DVD gets this wrong). We get more video stuff as Casper Van Diem tells us he’s Abraham Van Helsing, captain of the ship, and he’s got a tip that the Demeter, a long lost cargo ship, was found in the Carpathian system. Casper’s not much of a narrator, to be honest, but so far (four minutes in) this isn’t too bad. I assume these are CGI ships and they’re pretty believable. Casper says the cargo ship isn’t drifting, but seems to be moving as if it has a heading—Earth. He and his crew have to claim it before the government does.
Casper then introduces video screens of the rest of the crew. There’s The Professor (smart but doesn’t tell much) and Mina (navigator, according to Casper the ship spends much of its time lost, but that’s okay, really). Reginald Parker, aka Humvee, who’s apparently rather dense, some doper named 187, “vice captain” Aurora and that’s all.
The ship flies around the cargo craft while radio voices discuss whether or not they can salvage it. The view is generally optimistic. Casper appears in closeup and asks the Professor if everything looks good, and the Prof, in the same closeup, says he can’t detect any signals so he thinks that’s pretty good indeed. They dock the ship and Mina is ordered to go on board.
Which she does, scanning and waving a flashlight around the corridors, saying “Hello” and stuff before complaining that she didn’t sign up for this and she hates going into spooky old spaceships. Casper says she’s lucky to be in her surroundings, which include sweaty guys. She’s ordered to proceed.
And we get a video cut in of Udo, from earlier in his diary, saying that there’s engine problems and there seems to be a plague breaking out on board. We then cut back to Mina, finally going inside the ship. Hm. While I appreciate the info Udo gave us, wouldn’t it be better delivered in the course of the narrative? Like, say, they find the ship’s tapes?
Even though the crew’s not sure about the air, Mina’s helmet is just a scuba mask. Her hair is open to the void, so I guess the temperature has managed to hold up nicely for fifty years.
And just when I type that, a shadowy figure passes between the camera and Mina. She reacts with fear, though she was looking the wrong way at the time. Sound doesn’t seem to be a problem, so I guess there’s an atmosphere of some kind. On board, Prof seems to notice something odd. He softly says Mina’s name but she doesn’t hear, I guess. We do, though, over the radio, loud and clear. As she goes forward and turns down a corridor, the shadowy figure leaps back in front of the camera.
And she goes into another room. And another shadowy figure flits across the corridor as she moves on. Prof calls for her to report in, to let them all what’s going on. But she still doesn’t answer. Something else makes her jump, and she starts running down the corridors, blindly apparently. She still doesn’t say anything over the radio, but they can hear her breathing heavily and Prof can see that her heart rate is way up.
Mina finally stops, and then starts backing toward the camera. But Bullwinkle, that trick never works! Sure enough, something grabs her, but it turns out to be another of the crew, no doubt sent in by Captain Casper when Mina failed to report in. He laughs at her, and she says she thought she saw something. Then she admits she panicked and got lost. He (turns out this is Hummer) wants to know how she got lost with a scanner and everything, and she has no answer. Casper calls in then and wants to know how Mina is, and Hummer says she’s fine, still the same person she always was.
Casper asks for the O2 levels, and Hummer tells him they’re eighty-seven percent. Wow. Considering Earth’s oxygen level is like, what, twelve percent, I hope they don’t have any smokers on board. Casper orders the two of them to “go environmental” (whoah, shouldn’t you check for germs or something?) and they do. Hummer suddenly goes into a choking fit, Mina panics but she goes to help him, and he grabs her and kisses her. He laughs, she’s not happy about this at all.
They report in, saying the air is fine, so Casper says everyone else is coming on board. Casper isn’t happy about Hummer’s little stunt, and now I see that Hummer is Tiny Lister! Cool! He’s the President! And Prof and Ash come on board too. Prof is in a wheelchair, Ash is Erika Eleniak, she was a Playmate I think. Like Michael Hoenig, she is another veteran of The Blob remake.
Anyway, they’re all off to see if the reactor still works on the ship. Um, they’ve got air and heat and some light? Something’s still working. Casper asks Hummer where 187 is, and he is told that Hummer isn’t anyone’s babysitter. As they all go off to the reactor room, another figure dashes in front of the camera. Whatever’s on board is definitely getting some exercise, then.
Next we get more Udo. He says things are pretty bad. Engines are out, and they can only receive messages, they can’t send, so their SOS’s aren’t being heard by anyone. They’re still adrift in the Carpathian Galaxy. Why would someone name a galaxy that? I mean, assuming they weren’t making a Dracula movie, I mean.
Udo goes on to say that they’re “losing” more and more function of the ship, which I think implies that said functions are being taken over by another force, not that they’re shutting down. He says “half of the crew have been overcome by, um… it’s unlike anything I have seen.”
And we video blurg out to someone with a great big bong. If you guessed that we were finally going to meet co-star Coolio, give yourself a brownie. A very special brownie. I’m going to assume that the rap music he’s listening to is one of his own works.
Casper calls on the intercom and insists that he come down to the ship. Finally, 187 relents and will comply. Why is this guy on board? I don’t believe we were told his specific function, just that he was smart and liked his drugs.
So, everyone’s on the ship, and they’re strolling along some huge suspended walkways, almost as if this was a factory or something. Sigh. Prof asks someone to shine the flashlight on a small shack in the midst of all this, and it turns out this is central control. So they all head down there.
187 shows up back on the walkway and says the captain has to look at what he’s found. So Casper, Hummer and Ash go and leave Mina and Prof to start up the machinery. There’s a spot of disobedience from Hummer but Casper quashes this.
We watch Casper, Hummer, Ash and 187 walk down a lot of corridors while the music tries to tense up a bit.
But we cut to another video message from Udo. He says the ship is a ghost ship, nothing works other than basic environmental stuff, even the “hand phasers” don’t work. He says the infected crew is “beyond human” now, so he’s ordered the non-infected quarantined in their own quarters. That doesn’t sound like such a hot idea—doesn’t that mean the infected, non-human ones have control of the ship?
Mina, watching as Prof tries to bring the ship on line, tells him “Don’t,” that he should pretend he can’t so they can get out of here and back on board their own ship. She says the “smell alone” ought to tell everyone that this is a bad ship. Prof pooh-pooh’s her fears, saying they’re based on feelings, and she should use only her intellect. He adds “Trust your feelings, you’ll be worried, trust your head and you’ll be fine.” Pardon if I interject and say that sounds like a pretty dim philosophy for someone who’s supposed to be a super genius and stuff. He also says that they’re on a ship, not in a forest with snakes, and that nothing’s going to bite her. Ha ha ha, that sounds like foreshadowing.
Meanwhile, the others have entered a control room or something. Inside is a skeleton guy manning the station, dead of course. 187 goes to poke it, wondering about it…which makes me wonder where he’s leading the others. If he’s already been here, hasn’t he seen this body? Oh, right…drugs. Sorry.
Ash and Hummer argue about stuff, but it isn’t really important. 187 notices that the skeleton, before he became a skeleton, tied himself to his chair. No one knows what this means, or knows the meaning of the crucifix the skeleton is holding. I don’t think this is Udo, because this cross is white and his was black. But I could be wrong. Also, this skeleton has long hair, like a hippy, and Udo has very short hair in his video diary. Yes, yes, I know what you’re going to say—hair continues to grow after death. Does it grow when the person who died has male pattern baldness?
Well, you boys fight it out among yourselves. In the movie, 187 has a flash of insight, and declares the cross, “a metal plus sign. Okay. This dude was into mathematics! That explains everything!
”You need so much help,” Ash says.
Casper has the right answer, though. “It’s a crucifix.”
”I thought they banned those two hundred years ago, man,” Hummer says.
”Yeah, but that didn’t mean everybody gave it up,” Casper says. “He probably felt like he needed God’s help.”
187 mentions a distant ancestor who, rumor had it, believed in God, but he says he’s never actually met anyone with such a belief. Just then all the lights go on as Prof completes his work (which mainly seemed to be figuring out which buttons to push—I mean, he didn’t do any welding or rewiring or anything).
Casper et al discuss what to do with the body, and he says they should bring it back to Earth for proper burial.
187 says he wants to check the corpse for “illegal substances” and Casper, very mad, tells him to get out. Which he does. “There but for God’s grace, go I,” Hummer says quietly, and everyone looks at him like he passed gas or something. So he walks away.
”Hey,” Ash asks. “Who’s God?”
”Nobody,” Casper answers. But Ash looks thoughtful.
And we cut to another Udo videogram. “I hear them…behind my door,” he says. He then repeats what he said before, that he has no control over navigation, yet, something is moving them toward Earth. He looks thoughtful then glitches out again.
And we cut back as the crew all rejoins one another. Prof notes how his plan is to let the cargo ship tow Mother back to Earth. Casper reckons the thing is worth “fifteen.” Fifteen what? Space Bucks? 187 notes how much weed he can buy with his share, but Ash says they should find out what happened, call the Space Police to sort it all out, then claim their share.
187 and Hummer bust up laughing at this naivety. They’re not happy with her suggestion, and Hummer says she should raise her hand next time she wants to say something stupid. She offers a single finger instead, but I think it’s her pinkie instead of the one you might suspect.
There’s more discussion, here. Mina notes that they might all be dead soon, they don’t know what happened to the crew, etc. 187 notes that they found one of the crew, and Ash notes the state this crewman was in.
Casper says they can’t just abandon the ship for someone else to find. There’s probably a video log where they can find out what happened, until then, maybe 187 and Hummer can go off and find some other stuff. 187 thinks they might find something they can smoke. Why is he on board again?
Now, of course we in the audience know we’re watching a space horror movie, plus we’ve seen Udo’s video diary. But honestly, what does the crew here think is going on? A cargo ship, abandoned over fifty years ago with full cargo and crew…doesn’t that smell bad to anyone other than Mina?
Anyway, the only two black people go off on their own through the rest of the ship. 187 suggests the cargo bay, because he thinks there might be drugs there. Hummer is pretty much against that, saying that 187 is already too high, to which 187 says that is not possible.
187 compares taking drugs to being an athlete. “If you were lifting a hundred kilos a day, and it’s your first day at the gym…you’re going to be sore and you wouldn’t be able to move, right?”
Hummer agrees that this is so.
”But imagine lifting that same hundred kilos, every day for five years. Then it’s like you ain’t lifting a damn thing!”
”Man,” Hummer says, “you’ve been smoking a hundred kilos a day for five years. You understand what I’m saying?”
”Not quite that much,” 187 says, “but you get the idea, dude!” And Hummer loses patience with his drug-addled hi-jinks.
But we cut to a screen that says “System start up” and a timer starts, and we also see a screen with a hammer and sickle logo! Sheesh, space commies! Anyway, Prof notes that something is odd. When asked what, he says that “a separation sequence” was issued from Mother. Well, no one thinks this is good news as you can imagine, and Prof is ordered to stop this space shenanigan from the future. He tries to do so from the cargo ship control panel, but it keeps shutting off and turning on and generally misbehaving. Well, you know, keeping someone on board your own ship is generally a good idea when others go exploring, but what the hell do I know? It was a rhetorical question.
At any rate, Mother blasts off, hopefully without any space vampires on board—damn it, did I just give away something? Like the sequel? At this point, Casper thinks checking the log might be a good thing, and he orders Prof to continue to get the other ship back while he searches some facts. He asks Prof to send out a distress call, but Prof says that all outgoing communication is down. Casper orders them back up again and he goes to find some logs.
Back to 187 and Hummer, they come across a cargo hold with dry ice fog, and they’re pretty mad to discover that the whole room contains nothing but…coffins! Hummer is really mad about this, but 187 decides to use a very convenient crow bar to open up one of these boxes. Hummer is against it, but 187 wants his fun and won’t be told no. He thinks they might hold smugglers’ loot. So he breaks off one of the lids, and, of course, cuts himself. He notes how his cut is pretty bad, bleeding and all…bleeding blood…which vampires like…in a movie called “Dracula 3000.” I mean, how about that!
He runs his hand through the contents of the coffin, which turn out to be sand. He’s pretty bummed from his expression. He wants to try another coffin, but he notes his hand is cut so he asks Hummer to do the next one.
Hummer stomps the lid on one and it breaks in half. It, too, contains sand and Hummer asks if 187 wants to snort it. 187 says Hummer has no right to make fun of his chosen lifestyle, and it turns out Mina is watching them. She asks them what they’re doing here. They claim nothing, but she says they should respect the dead, and also says that Prof wants to see both of them. Hummer goes off to comply, but 187 says he wants to see what might be in a couple more. We get a close up of his bleeding hand, a musical sting, and we see some drops of blood falling into the “sand” and kind of bubble a bit. I think we can all join together and think: uh oh.
Well, we cut to Casper walking down another corridor while creepy ambient noises are all around, and he comes to a room filled with crucifixes (some of them look ripped right off kites). I’m guessing this is Udo’s cabin. Casper pushes a button and Udo starts speaking at an earlier point in his video webcam diary blog, apparently right at the beginning of the voyage. He says they departed “Transylvania Station” the previous night, “and not a moment too soon.”
Casper wonders where the heck “Transylvania Station” is though he uses a stronger term than I did. Udo goes on to say that the crew are all restless and on edge, but Udo was offered “double the usual credits” for the shipment he decided to take on board. He goes on to say he doesn’t know why his cargo supplier has such a huge urgency to go to the Carpathian Galaxy, but someone outside (in the real world) screams and Casper runs out of the room to go help, leaving Udo to blather on to the empty air.
The cameraman seems to have no idea what a zoom is, or maybe he’s just now learning about the camera, but the shots following Casper are really confusing. It’s worse than an Italian movie from the seventies. Casper meets up with Ash, and neither knows what’s going on, but they team up to find out.
Back with Hummer and Prof, there’s some kind of whooshing noise or something (it’s edited very confusingly) and Hummer goes off to investigate, leaving Prof by himself, and the cameraman definitely needs to get a handle on this zoom thing.
Casper and Ash go to the coffin room, and find 187 collapsed on one of the coffins. Hummer comes in shortly after. 187 can only say “He” over and over again, and he either has a really bad break in his leg bone or someone jammed something into his leg. Something bloody is sticking out of his knee. He’s not saying, as he faints. Hummer picks him up and they all leave the coffin bay, to music that has turned inexplicably jazzy. It sounds like Twin Peaks music. Ash hears a monster noise, but nothing comes of it. We do see, after she leaves, one of the coffin lids slide back into place.
And we cut to a pool table, where someone brushes away the pool balls to put 187 down. Isn’t there a sick bay? I mean, if there’s a rec room, which I assume this is, I should think there’s be some medical facilities as well, which would probably be a bit more thorough than a pool table. Prof says that 187’s broken leg is going to have to be set manually, and Hummer refuses to do this, so Ash and Casper do it. On the wall here is a poster of Lenin! Well, I guess if religion is banned, they have to have something, right? Sheesh. You’d think that if religion was banned as being unreasonable, Communism would have gone long before, but there you go, eh? Eh?
Cut to Casper smoking (something else you’d think would be long gone, except it’s so cinematic). Ash comes up to see him, tells him 187 should be okay, and they move closer, but then Mina clears her throat and tells Casper he’s needed in the rec room. After he leaves, she goes to confront Ash about all this getting-close stuff. The conversation adds nothing. (Welcome to Dracula 3000.)
Cut to Casper striding along the corridor, back to Total Recall type music. He eventually gets to where Prof is, and Prof tells Casper to look at 187’s neck. On the neck are two big ole bite marks. There’s a weird bit where Casper repeats bits of Prof’s dialog as questions (“Bites.” “Bites?” “Teeth.” “Teeth?”).
Just then, 187’s eyes pop open, he throws Casper aside and goes after Prof, making goofy remarks and singing to himself and stuff. He tosses Prof out of his chair and starts stomping on his hips (uh, okay), then Casper whacks him with a pool cue, which of course 187 shakes off and then tosses Casper again.
Did it not occur to Casper that here’s a guy with a broken leg, jumping around and stuff, and maybe just getting his attention wouldn’t quite be enough?
Ash shows up, and she and 187 have this long, long, long conversation (someone said Coolio should get to do a huge improv, I guess) before she shoots him, which of course has no effect. So, she runs away, he chases her, it all seems to take a lot longer than it ought to, and the cameraman’s tricks and such are not helping. Ash manages to slam some door closed before 187 can get her.
Hummer shows up where the others are (including Mina, somehow) and he’s informed of the situ, and they all go off to rescue Ash. We cut to 187, back in the coffin room (the jazz starts up again). He’s singing and saying something unintelligible (sounds, honestly, like Curly Howard when he would do his stooge noises). And there, in the coffin room, is a guy with a cape and a high collar (we only see him from the back).
187 calls this guy “master” and notes how he (187) has been summoned and he’s totally ready to do what this cape guy wants. The cape guy, who I’m going to call Dracula, wants 187 to “kill them, kill them all!” and 187 bounces off to comply. We do get to see Dracula’s face, and he looks kind of familiar. I mean, not just as Dracula but like someone who’s been in a bunch of lame TV movies or something. He mostly looks wrong as Dracula.
Back with Hummer and Casper, they’re searching for Ash and/or 187. Hummer says 187 has always been a straight-up homie, yo. Casper suggests shutting up, and Hummer says “Whatever helps you sleep at night,” then, really happy with this line, he repeats it.
Back wish Ash, she’s listening next to the door, which thumps alarmingly at her. And then Dracula shows up! She asks who he is, he tells her she’s beautiful, and this guy still looks all wrong for Dracula. He’s too beefy or something, I don’t know. He starts running his fingernail over her chest, admiring her flesh, and she asks again who he is and what he wants. What he wants, he says is “Darkness, infinite darkness. But what I want, and what I need, are world’s apart.” He tells her he needs blood, and he moves in for the bite.
And we cut to Prof and Mina, waiting back in the rec room. She’s fussing over the face cut he got earlier, he asks her to pick up a weapon and guard the door please. She does, steps outside, looks around, says there’s nothing, and 187 attacks her and locks the door. Well, that was nice of him to lock the door, I guess. So he couldn’t kill two of them, like he was supposed to.
We get a brief shot of the ship in space, then the door opens again and it’s Casper and Hummer. Prof relates Mina’s fate, they lock him back in and leave, and he says, “Oh, bollocks!” Ha ha ha, wasn’t that funny? No, you’re right.
Back in the hall with Casper and Hummer, they advance, guns at the ready, despite the fact that guns haven’t been much use. And they almost shoot Ash, then they apologize saying they didn’t know it was her.
Casper asks if she’s seen 187, and she says, “No, but I saw…him.”
She goes back to rec central, they follow, and we see Prof’s wheelchair, and we sloooowly pan around its wheels, and the other parts, before we sloooowly see that Prof is aiming a gun right at the closed door. And after a long time, the wheel (the kind they use to seal doors on submarines) starts spinning like crazy, and Prof goes all twitchy. How long is this stupid movie again?
The door opens, and Prof shoots his gun empty, and Casper yells out how it is him, and Prof is all sorry about that, man. And Casper and Hummer and Ash all come inside to the now much less brightly lit rec room. Maybe 187 smashed some lights, I can’t remember. Anyway, Casper asks Ash about this “Him” chap she mentioned.
She says his name is Count Orlock and he’s from Transylvania, which is a planet in the Carpathian System. “It’s a planet of vampires,” she says.
”So what the hell is a vampire?” Hummer asks, walking right past a big Communist flag (hammer and sickle and stuff). I guess this explains why religion is outlawed, if everyone’s a commie now, that would make sense. Except why would Hummer use the phrase “the hell” in his question above?
Ash answers, ”It’s sort of like a man, only far more evil, if you can imagine that.”
”You believe that s**t?” Hummer asks. Uh…what?
Ash goes on to note that the vampire planet is dead, it’s nothing but a wasteland and those tourist dollars have just disappeared. He paid to have the coffins picked up to be transported…somewhere. And since the Mother crew woke him up, he decided he was hungry and he wants to kill everyone and drink their blood. He also, somehow, made the Mother ship take off on her own.
Casper pulls a gun on Ash and wants to know how she knows all this. Hummer, after a bit of confusion, also wants the same question asked, then answered (for completion).
She doesn’t know. She admits she met the guy, other than that, it’s a mystery. Of course, we saw Dracula descend on her neck, so there should be evidence. Casper looks, and there isn’t any. He orders Prof to get the cargo ship operational, he says he can only do that from the main deck, so that’s where they’re off to. Ash gets tied up in the meantime.
So, Prof and Casper trundle along the corridor, and Dracula runs down a side corridor giving Prof a bit of a (pointless) scare.
Back with Ash and Hummer, she’s arguing to be untied since she wasn’t bitten. He notes that his mama didn’t raise any fools. She says he could see every tiny bit of her naked to be sure. “Blah blah blah blah,” he says, emphasizing each Blah and speaking for me, at least.
In main control, Prof gets the engines on line, demands to be told he’s “the man” and when Casper does so, he asks where the nearest planet is. I didn’t catch the answer, but Casper says “Make it so” so I guess we have our Star Trek reference here.
Back with Hummer and Ash, she says she has to go to the bathroom, but he’s not falling for that old one. And we see a door, somewhere, open. Up on the bridge, Prof is finding out what he can about vampires, specifically, how to kill them. And we see some in-jokes, like a reference to a “Camilla Lefanu” and a “Count Reuthven” and so on. And Prof makes the discovery that Casper, as a Van Helsing, is a direct descendant of the famed vampire killer.
Prof goes all twitchy, saying that this is all a trap for Casper, and that Dracula is going to kill them all just to get to him (Casper). Casper insists it is just a coincidence. Prof eventually accepts that this must be the case…since it could pretty much ONLY be the case. How exactly could Dracula have set this whole thing up?
Back at the other place, 187 appears outside the door and asks to be let in. He talks about how everyone is after him, and appeals to Hummer’s sense of black solidarity as why he should be let in. Ash says that Hummer shouldn’t trust 187, but this brotherhood stuff is pretty deeply rooted. So he lets him in, and 187 throws him across the room.
Luckily the ship’s coincidence circuits are fully operational, so when Ash calls out for the captain, it gets transmitted to the bridge and Casper hears it. Casper goes running back, locking Prof in the bridge room.
Back with the others, Hummer is complaining of being pissed off, and 187 says, “Dude, I cannot believe that you fell for the ‘we brothers got to stick together’ routine. You know, that’s been the downfall of many a black man!”
They fight a bit, then Casper shows up, and 187 says that he can’t be killed. So Casper shoots him a few times (sigh).
”Stop! Wasting! Bullets!” 187 shouts. He then explains for all the slow learners that he is a vampire, and he is sooooo high right now, it is better than any weed. And again, someone thought, “Boy, I bet Coolio could really improvise, who’s with me? Guys?”
Finally, after what seems like a whole bunch of improv-fueled forevers, Hummer impales 187 with a pool cue. “Sorry, bro, I told you I wasn’t playing,” Hummer says as 187 falls over pretty dead.
Ash demands to be released, Casper says why, Ash says she wasn’t bitten anywhere, and he can check. Hummer notes to Casper that Ash already tried that routine on him. “Been there, done that,” Casper says. He sits next to Ash and mentions that they’d like to know why, when Dracula had his chance, he didn’t bite Ash. She doesn’t answer, so he walks away.
”Okay,” she says. “You win.” She and Casper go back and forth on stuff, before she confesses, “I’m a Proteus Four. I work for the WNC.” Hummer says that means a Narc, and Ash (now the name becomes clear) says that Casper has been under surveillance “for the last three moon cycles.”
Yeah, “moon cycles” sounds like a likely time measurement in a future where galaxies have been spanned. Uh…which moon? Exactly? I need to set my watch.
Anyway, I’m sure this means Ash is a robot, and she’ll probably demonstrate it too by flapping her lips or chewing her food or by growing wings and flying to the moon…just in time for a moon cycle.
Well, none of that (except the robot part) but Hummer is really steamed and doesn’t want to untie her. He seems to have forgotten completely about vampires and such. Casper hasn’t, however, and he unties her saying she’s their best weapon against Dracula since she doesn’t have any blood. Hummer is still mad, though. Man, priorities, you know?
So, we get to see more thrilling walking-through-the-corridor scenes, and Dracula gets one too, followed by a scream. Casper, Ash and Hummer enter the room where Prof…was. His wheel chair is all empty. But it turns out he was just hiding under the counter. He asks about 187, and when told he was killed with a pool cue through the heart, he starts yapping about how this was one of the ways vampires could be “disenabled.” He mentions that it has to be organic wood, not the synthetic stuff that everyone’s using.
”A pool cue?” Hummer asks.
Prof points out that in 2950, they “were still using organic wood for pool cues.” Damn, he is smart. I bet he cleans up at Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy. He also mentions that they don’t like crucifixes (“The plus sign!” Hummer says proudly), and that if exposed to sunlight, they’ll go up in a ball of flame. In deep space, sunlight is a bit thin, so Casper orders the ship to go back to a system where there’s a double sun. And fly between them, I guess. So they can open all the windows that they don’t seem to have anywhere.
Hummer asks what they’ll do til they get there. Casper says they should “find more pool cues.”
And the very next shot shows them flying right toward the double star, with sunlight streaming all around, so that didn’t take long, did it? Are we done, then?
Back at the rec room, they step over 187’s body, and Ash says “Yuck” so Casper asks how come she has emotions if she’s a robot. She says it’s programming. He says let’s find pool cues. She says “Fine.” Sorry, I thought it was going to add up to something, that’s why I wrote it all down like that. (Welcome to Dracula 3000.)
Ash finds a pool cue, and Casper breaks it in half, so now there’s two stakes. Back at tech central, it’s revealed that they’re thirteen hours away from the double suns. Hummer wants to go faster, Prof says they’ll wreck the ship if they do that. Banter ensues.
Back in the corridors, Ash and Casper come to the room with all the coffins. They banter. They’re going to open up all the coffins and if there’s a vampire, stab it in the heart (“Like you know where that is,” Ash bitches at Casper). Casper will open and Ash will stab.
However. If I recall correctly, Vampires sleep in their coffins during the daylight hours. Without daylight, would they need to sleep in them? Anyway.
The first coffin just contains sand, so does the second. I’m sure we’re setting all this up so we can find Mina in one of them, when we’re sure they’re all going to be empty. We cut back to tech central, where Prof says he’s going to die. Then we cut back to the next coffin, and sure enough, there’s Mina with bright red lips and sallow skin. Sleeping nicely. Ash gets squeamish and won’t stake her, so Casper does, and Mina screams and there’s a shower of blood.
And the last coffin at one of the rows flips its lid—actually, the lid goes shooting off like it was fitted with exploding bolts. And Dracula slow-motions around. Casper tells Ash to go get Hummer, she refuses at first but then runs off--
Wait a minute. We already know Dracula has no use for Ash, since she has no blood. We also know she’s a cop, so she must have some training in subduing people (and people-like items). Why isn’t she fighting Dracula? Well, yes, Casper is the hero, but still, even he said she was their best weapon.
Casper introduces himself as a Van Helsing, a vampire killer. Dracula says that Casper’s destiny is much greater, “namely, dinner.” (Of course, simply finding out about his ancestry should not have given Casper super vampire-fighting skills, but I digress.)
And Casper lunges and Dracula ducks. “You’re going to have to do better than that!” Dracula observes, and he’s right. And he goes on to say that somehow he knew Casper would come. So apparently this was some kind of plot to get Casper. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any dumber….
And we cut to Ash running back to tech central. Uh, why wouldn’t they use intercoms or something? Anyway, she bangs on the door, finally saying that it’s her and Casper needs help.
Hummer says he’s not going to fall for that act again, while Prof wonders if it might be true. Thing is…she’s A ROBOT, she CAN’T BECOME A VAMPIRE. A campfire, maybe, but not a vampire. This has already been established. Hummer is really going for the Stupid Trophy for this film.
Hummer’s idiotic, uncooperative nature makes this scene go on for a long, long time and there’s lots of stupid dialogue. But it adds up to nothing (welcome to Dracula 3000), so she runs back. Great scene, there. Really advanced the plot a whole lot. Ash runs to the room where all the crucifixes are. She grabs ONE and runs off.
Back at tech central, Prof starts saying “We’re all gonna die” over and over again, and he really looks like a Gerry Anderson Super-Marionette. Hummer decides he’s tired of listening to this whining, so he leaves. Wow, this is so tightly constructed! Anyway, Hummer walks along, gun at the ready, despite the fact that guns have proven to be useless. He meets and almost shoots Ash, and they go to the coffin room. And we see Prof also left the room and is in the hallway now, crying for Hummer. He meets Dracula. So, I guess Dracula killed Casper after all! That’s a twist. Dracula says he’s not going to kill him (Prof), and asks Prof to take his hand. He says he’ll set Prof free, and Prof will walk beside him through all eternity. So he IS going to kill him. Just then, a loud noise scares Dracula and he runs away. Good GRIEF.
And we cut to Casper, crawling along on his stomach in the coffin room. Hummer and Ash get there and try to comfort him, but of course he’s a vampire now and he attacks Hummer. Ash looks for a likely weapon. She pulls the stake out of Mina, and stakes Casper. Trouble is, now Mina’s back and pretty ticked off. Ash holds her off with the crucifix, and Hummer uses the other half of the pool cue to stake her. He and Ash leave the room. They walk down some more corridors, without, I should note, any wooden stakes.
Hummer notes one room, I think it may be the open door to tech central. “What is it?” she asks.
He tells he’s going to go first. “You wait here.”
”No way!” she says.
”He doesn’t want your blood.”
”He’s still scary!”
”I hear you,” Hummer observes. (This scintillating conversation brought to you by Dracula 3000.)
They both go in anyway. Uh…good, then. Glad that’s all cleared up. In the room, they see Prof slumped over his chair, like he’s sleeping, and NOT AT ALL like he’ll spring up with vampire fangs and snarl at them.
However, as Hummer puts his hand on Prof’s shoulder, Ash decides the movie is too long and she’s going to cut to the chase, and she starts slamming the pointy end of the crucifix repeatedly into Prof’s back. He snarls, and yes has vampire fangs, then dies.
”How did you know?” Hummer asks.
”I didn’t,” Ash says, and in a quick cut to the coffin room, one of them explodes. Coincidence? I think not, surely you recall the adage from the (European) It’s A Wonderful Life, “Every time a vampire gets staked, a coffin bursts into flame.”
”Orlock!” one of them says, and they rush to close the door, just as Dracula sticks his hand in! They slam the door on his arm and, with both of them pulling, they close the door, and Dracula, well as the Cockneys might say, ‘e’s nearly harmless now. He doesn’t look at all happy about this. He screams and, I think, runs off somewhere to cry.
Hummer says, looking at the severed arm, “If I’ve told you once, woman, I’ve told you twice, always put out the Do Not Disturb sign.” I’m not sure, but I think that was supposed to be a joke. Shouldn’t it be “a thousand times” though? She walks off, and he says, “Women!” Uh. Right.
Turns out Dracula is still just outside the door, I guess he stopped screaming so Hummer could tell his one-liner, although he’s back to screaming and screaming and looking at his missing arm like he’s just not believing this. Or maybe he thought the joke was really that bad.
And Dracula screams and the ship continues flying toward the twin suns. Hummer I guess is navigating, or at least, he is sitting at a console and typing. He and Ash discuss their situation. Neither of them knows how to fly the ship, so I guess all this typing Hummer is doing is, maybe, updating his blog or something. Ash points out that even if they don’t survive, neither will Dracula. They’re still twelve hours away from the sun.
”Humvee,” Ash says, “did I ever tell you?”
”Tell me what?”
”I wasn’t always a narc, you know.”
”Uh uh. Not until they upgraded my program.”
”Upgraded your program,” he repeats.
”Before that, I was a Proteus 3.2 PB.” Oh brother. Who wants to bet that stands for Pleasure Bot? (I have the film paused.)
”Pleasure Bot,” she says. Groan.
”I’ve heard of those,” Hummer says, crying while Ash touches his forehead. “I ain’t never had enough credits!”
”Well, then, what are you waiting for?” she asks. Me, I’m waiting for the words “The End.” “You’ve only got a couple hours before the end of your world, and I’m off the clock.”
”Bingo! Must be in the front row!” Hummer says, using slang FROM THE FUTURE. “You’re not gonna have to tell me twice,” he says, picking her up bodily, slinging her over his shoulder, and saying, “Come on, girl!” The music gets all jaunty.
And we fly backwards down several of the ship’s corridors while the jaunty music continues. And we go through a lot of corridors, I guess they shot the film and wanted to cram it somewhere. And we end on the coffin room, with all the coffins back to being perfectly intact. It’s either some kind of weird vampire thing or a big continuity error. No matter, we get more of Udo’s video webcam diary thing.
He says that he’s come to the conclusion that he has to destroy the ship, “to prevent this terror from reaching Earth.”
And we cut outside, to see the cargo ship again approaching the twin suns, and it blows up in a huge fireball. We freeze frame on this, and get our closing credits.
And after the closing credits, Hummer walks into a room, still carrying Ash, slaps her on the rear end and says, “And that’s what I’m talking about.” I guess since he pats her END, that means this is the END? I’m just wondering how he’s doing any of this in a destroyed spaceship, but, you know, as long as it’s done.
Well…that was mediocre. Not bad enough to be funny, or good enough to be, you know, good. A definite C movie, though that has to be one of the stupidest endings I’ve ever seen. Who knew all you had to do was be really strong and tear one of Dracula’s arms off and that’s it? That’s just lame.
Okay, vampires suck blood, but this film just sucks. You knew I was going to work that in there, so I decided it should have a paragraph of its own.
But really, once the title Dracula 3000 was decided on, it would take a story telling genius to make something good. I’m sure the film-makers here are all nice people, but I don’t think any of them is a genius. Now, I do appreciate the way they tried to take the Dracula story and adapt it to science fiction, but the adaptation seemed to be just shoe-horning in names than making the concepts science fiction. We had a Van Helsing, a Mina, and I think one of the characters was a Harker, as well. Like the book, Mina became a vampire and had to be staked, though there was a bit more to it there than here. And Udo’s video webcam diary was a lot like the log from the ship that brought Dracula’s coffins to England. There was even a dead guy tied to a chair, like the guy in the book was tied to the wheel. That part, the whole Udo subplot, was kind of clever.
Had the film-makers taken the parallels even further, we might have had something. A cargo ship, with a deadly payload, takes off…the cargo kills the crew, and the ship becomes a drifting, abandoned hulk, until it’s discovered by another ship…which brings something vampiric on board, going back home….
Actually, that sounds like the set up for the first Alien film, doesn’t it? There’s a difference, though: Alien was a frightening and imaginative film, and this…isn’t. This is Dracula 3000, which has as its menace a guy in a Count Floyd cape.
So even though all those parallels were set up, the film didn’t bother to do anything with them other than argh-look out-run stuff. And most of that not very well done. I’ve mentioned the guy in the cape, frilled shirt and bolo tie many times, but you really have no idea how ludicrous he looks. How could the film-makers make such a wrong decision? The only thing he doesn’t do is hold his cape under his eyes, and I bet that’s just because the film-makers didn’t think of that.
Speaking of not thinking, one parallel that didn't seem to mean anything was Casper as Van Helsing. He's never heard of vampires before, but once he learns his ancestry, he suddenly thinks he's this great vampire hunter and is going to kick Dracula in the nads for him. You know, knowledge doesn't just happen by osmosis. You actually have to, you know, learn things in order to know them. As previously said, he should have left vampire fighting to Ash. Or maybe both of them could have fought Dracula, there among the coffins.
And those coffins. Speaking of which, what was the sand? In the book, Dracula had to sleep in his native soil and he brought a lot of coffins…so that’s covered, but then why was Mina sleeping in one? If it’s a coffin per vampire, what happened, then, to the cargo ship’s crew? You know, the ones that were all turned into vampires (well, I got that impression from Udo, anyway. Maybe I'm all wrong about that). Where did they go? Did Dracula get rid of them, since there weren’t enough capes to go around? Did they all get remorse and fling themselves into space? You might say they all crumbled to dust after fifty yeas, but then why didn’t the guy in the pilot’s chair, or for that matter, Dracula himself? They’re all vampires, vampires I tell you.
What else can I complain about? I really got tired of all those stomping down the corridor scenes. That got old fast, and I bet that’s a third of the movie. And Coolio’s ad libs. As stated, I can just see the producers: “Hey, he’s a rap star or a rap and roller or something, and they talk really fast! Let’s let him just go nuts for these scenes. It’ll be like Robin Williams, only street!”
No, it doesn’t make any sense either, but there you are. Oh I did like his one line, when he told Casper, in complete exasperation, "Stop! Wasting! Bullets!" That's exactly what I was thinking, in the same tone of voice (though less "street" of course).
Usually when I write these things, I’m constantly pausing and rewinding so I can be certain of quotes and things like that. This one is one of the few where, for the most part, I just let it play. Things took so long, and had so little impact, that it was easy to write up the details while stuff was happening, then polish it a bit and fix up the grammar and stuff while some pointless scene played out. That’s a pretty lousy distinction.
Okay, was there any good stuff?
Technically, there wasn’t anything really wrong here. The director kept things moving and, on occasion, his more experimental stuff was okay. I’m thinking of one slow-motion shot of Dracula running away from the camera. But other times, like those rapid back and forth zooms, well, that just looked stupid. Editing was fine and the lighting had just the right amount of moodiness without being dim. The CGI ships, as mentioned, were pretty good. The interiors were some factory again, or maybe the inside of a battleship or something. Whatever they were, they looked way too familiar. The acting was mostly serviceable, Coolio and whoever played Dracula to the contrary. “Serviceable” is hardly much praise, but no one really embarrassed themselves, at least acting-wise; the characters were all the thinnest of clichés, but the dialogue they had to deliver was filled with cringers.
And what was with the society these people were from? People still use 20th century slang and firearms, but they have no idea about God, and have never heard of vampires? I could accept that if one of our little band wasn’t named after a thousand-year old car. Ash herself compares herself unfavorably to "The Bionic Woman," a TV show that's pretty much forgotten today. Any kid nowadays probably knows tons about vampires, without having seen one...all this knowledge was just sort of lost in time, like tears in rain?
I knew I’d seen Alexandra Kamp (Mina) before…turns out it was in these very pages, in Ice Crawlers. Tiny Lister was great as the President of the World in The Fifth Element. Casper Van Diem will always be Johnny Rico, since he was okay in that film and I’m not sure he’s been heard from much since, at least not publicity wise. They were all pretty mediocre here. Udo Kier sat in a chair and read his lines, I can’t imagine he was on set for more than a couple of hours, which would include costuming. He read his lines like a pro, what can I say. So he was probably the best actor.
Okay, I'm tired of thinking about Dracula 3000. In conclusion, I'll just say this. One of the things that Dracula says to Casper before they start fighting, is that all of his vampire relations have all suffered great shame because they were killed by Van Helsings.
I’d say they now have something new to be embarrassed about.